You probably remember the moment you first saw Jessica Simpson slink into a Pizza Hut and, quite seductively, feed some dorky tween an oh-so-cheesy popper while moaning the line "one of these days these bites are gonna pop right into you." Yeah, it was pre-the now post- Tony Romo and she might have been desperate--for the cash, if not a real boy toy.
Jacqueline Lambiase, a professor from Shefer School of Journalism at Texas Christian University and co-author for a series of books on advertising, notes that while sex has been used in advertising since the 1800s, the Jessica commercial spawned a "reincarnation" of food spots that use "sexual ads to grab people's attention." Take a look for yourself as we present the Top 10 smuttiest food ads around in print, on TV and on the web.
10. Jessica Simpson for Pizza Hut cheesy bites
The aforementioned ad could be seen as a kind of wet dream with food involved or the deflowering of a teenage boy by a more experienced women who happens to be wielding a pizza.
9. Stacker 2
Not sure, but we think Stacker 2 is some sort of Viagra-like drink...although the effect clearly lasts less than four minutes. OK--it's an energy boost and not a true food item. Still, this piece is worth inclusion, if only for the poor storyline. There seems little motivation for the guy's frantic grinding against thin air. But, as Lambiase says, "a lot of times sex is used because advertisers have run out of ideas."
8. Carl's Jr. Flat Buns
Confusing. We were under the impression that ordering a big, fat, juicy, hamburger meant about 1200 calories and a side of cellulite obviously keen to inflate ones buns. But this classroom erupts into a rapper celebration of the anti-booty.
7. Hardee's Biscuit Holes
Number seven is strangely reminiscent of South Park's "Chocolate Salty Balls," even without a chef singing about genital-looking food. No, the company decided they'd be clever and prod 'real people' (we assume) for thoughts on their new "Biscuit Holes." Bisticules anyone?
6. Paris Hilton for Carl's Jr. Spicy BBQ
Paris Hilton may be the queen of...we're not sure what. But she's made a few questionable videos in her time, including this. Carl's Junior brings Playboy to the small screen commercial for...for...well, see how long it takes before they introduce a burger into the auto-erotic display.
5. Padma Lakshmi for Carl's Jr. Western Bacon Burger
No wonder everyone wants Carl's Jr. to come to this market--they do consistently provocative spots. Most everyone knows Padma Lakshmi as the host for the show Top Chef and for the minor side detail that she's a supermodel. But what you may not know is that she's written a couple cookbooks, her first including a collection of low-fat recipes. Guess it wouldn't be very hard to forget that detail after watching her lick a river of ketchup from her wrist and hash into a bacon hamburger the side of her face. Perhaps "it's just part of the cycle of women being an object that's gazed upon," as Lambiase says. "When you're looked at all the time, being looked at is more important than substance...She's eating meat and she is meat."
4. Quizno's Toasty Torpedo
Oven: A compartment for baking and roasting food, NOT a homoerotic, Barry White, smooth-talking sex machine. Perhaps Quizno's didn't get the message until after they released this commercial. The new version of this commercial has been simmered down a few degrees--no more horny appliances begging for a willing clerk to insert something long and hard.
3. Burger King's Seven-Inch Sandwich
Oh, for some subtlety. This new Burger King ad, released in Singapore but much talked about over here, is...well, let's see...a seven-inch sandwich, a wide-mouthed blonde and the word "blow" are all part of this one-pager. "There's a vocabulary of grammar or symbols out there and we understand what those symbols mean. There may be no copy on the ad at all or text included, but people get those meanings," says Lambiase. So we could be wrong, but we think they might be trying to hint at something...
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2. Miller Lite "Catfight"
It may be a general male fantasy to watch a couple girls groping, half-naked, over beer. But many, if not most women probably look at drinking in a different light. Reality, perhaps? Well, no one wants to see two male beer bellies bouncing around in a pool of mud. Besides, women don't guzzle enough beer for advertisers to really care what they think. The breweries target young men, but try to make beer attractive to future buyers, too. Tracy Everbach, a news-editorial professor from the University of North Texas points out the effect of this: "If you keep just being bombarded with women being sexualized objects, it's hard for boys to see them as people." Would make a great commercial, though.
As these top two prove, beer commercials take more liberties than even Carl's Jr. But this one, well, it leaves something--a few things--to the imagination. "Sexual appeals are used to get people to buy things...things that you don't really need. It's part of a consumption culture; we are consumers instead of humans," says Lambiase. Sex and beer has been a common partnership, and as Lambiase says, "Sex is fun...but that beautiful experience has become polluted by products. All you need is two people in a loving relationship." Ah, but in this case, why stop at two?